Get vaccinated, it's the law

Watch this video from Texas Children's Hospital to see why the meningitis vaccine can literally save life and limb:

Texas Senate Bill 1107, passed in May 2011, requires that new HCC students and former HCC students returning after an absence of at least one fall or spring semester who are under the age of 30 are required to present a physician-signed certificate showing they have been vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. For classes that begin after January 1, 2014, the age requirement has been lowered to under the age of 22. The immunization must be administered at least 10 calendar days before the start date of your classes and must have been received within the last five years.

The immunization must have been received with in the last five years and be administered at least 10 calendar days before the start date of the session in which you are enrolling, regardless of your actual first day of class. Also, the immunization is valid for only five years.

All students are encouraged to consult with a physician about the need for immunization to prevent this disease.

Exemptions

You are exempt if you:

  • Will be thirty years old on the first day of class (no documentation required). For classes that begin after January 1, 2014, the exemption age requirement has been lowered to 22 years old.
  • Cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons. You must submit a HCC Meningitis Vaccination Verification Form and an affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States and in which it is stated that, in the physician’s opinion, the vaccination required would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student.
  • Decline the vaccine due to reasons of conscience, including a religious belief. You must complete an Exemption from Meningococcal Vaccination Requirements for Reasons of Conscience Form available online at collegevaccinerequirements.com.
  • Are a dual-credit student attending on a high school campus (no documentation required).

Required Documentation

  • The signature or stamp of a physician or his/her designee or public health personnel on a form which shows the month, day and year the vaccination dose or booster was administered. Documentation must be in English and submitted with the HCC Meningitis Vaccination Verification Form.
  • An official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority. Documentation must be in English and submitted with the HCC Meningitis Vaccination Verification Form.
  • An official record received from school officials, including a record from another state.
  • Affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician who is licensed to practice medicine in the United States which states that in the physician’s opinion the meningococcal vaccine would be injurious to your health and well-being. Documentation must be in English and submitted with the HCC Meningitis Vaccination Verification Form.
  • A completed  Exemption from Meningococcal Vaccination Requirements for Reasons of Conscience Form available online at collegevaccinerequirements.com. Documentation must be submitted with the HCC Meningitis Vaccination Verification Form.

Submitting Documentation

Documentation must be in English. Write your name, HCC Student ID, and date of birth on each page you submit. Submit your documentation:

  • At any HCC campus
  • By email: Scan your documentation and attach it to an email to vaccine@hccs.edu
  • Fax: 713-718-2882
  • Mail: Houston Community College, Admissions & Records – MC 1136, P.O. Box 667517, Houston TX 77266-7517

Where to get vaccinated

You can get the meningococcal vaccine at most doctors' offices and private clinics, many large pharmacy chains, and some minor emergency centers or medi-clinics. Call in advance to see whether they offer the vaccine, require an appointment, and take your insurance.

If you have Medicaid or CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Plan), please contact your established healthcare provider as your first option.

If you are uninsured or your insurance will not cover the meningococcal vaccine:

  • If you are 18 or younger, you might qualify for the Texas Vaccines for Children Program. Call the United Way's referral helpline, by dialing 211, to find healthcare providers in your area who participate in this program.
  • Many Texas city/county health departments offer free or low-cost meningococcal vaccine as part of children and adult immunization programs. Call to confirm that they offer the meningococcal vaccine for someone your age and in your circumstances. These services are ONLY for those without insurance or whose insurance does not cover the cost of the vaccine.

About Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal Disease (meningitis) is easily spread by direct contact, or by droplets of respiratory secretions (coughing, sneezing, kissing, and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation). Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacterium can also infect the blood. Symptoms include fever, headache, a stiff neck, and often nausea, vomiting, and mental awareness changes.

Meningitis is often lethal because people associate early symptoms with the common flu, and don’t consult a physician. However, symptoms can progress rapidly, sometimes leading to death in 24-48 hours. Following the initial symptoms, the disease can result in joint infection, pneumonia, organ system failure, and shock.

Among those who survive Meningococcal Disease, approximately 20 percent live with severe health problems and permanent disabilities, including brain damage, kidney failure, learning disabilities, hearing loss, blindness, limb damage which may require amputation, and mental retardation.

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